Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What's in a name?

It has been a rough summer.

Mind you any normal, sane person would look at my summer schedule and say: "WOW! You had time to rest, relax, sleep, recoup. That must have been great!" But alas, I am neither a normal or sane person.

This summer has been challenging for me because I went from moving at warp speed in 32 different directions as a graduate student, employee, commuter, friend, teacher, partner, daughter, sister, bridesmaid, hopeful parent, and hopeful home owner (to name a few) all at the same time to well...what felt like a stalled out version of my former self. Mind you, the break was much needed and I don't think I could have continued at the rate at which I was moving and been a healthy person for much longer. But nevertheless, stopping and re-framing my entire world view in a little over 3 months has been a little tricky.

This summer has been filled with beautiful, wonderful, amazing things. I was a proud and honored witness to two of my dearest friends uniting in partnership to men they adore. I was the hostess to my family and friends on several occasions. I was a tourist in my own town, traveling to my partner's family beach house on a couple of occasions and enjoying the city that I fell in love with some 8 years ago. I was humbled by my own academic achievements when I received my master's degree. I have made new friends and rediscovered what life can be like without the constant pressure of "something else I should be doing." I have rediscovered other, important and treasured elements of my identity: a singer, a craft-queen, a baker, a friend, a goof-ball, and an athlete.

This summer has been filled with horrible, awful, ridiculous moments, too. I have faced rejection for jobs for which I know I would be amazing. I have battled with my hormones and used more panty liners than most women do in a year. I have struggled to understand my purpose and value in the world and in my partnership. I have tortured myself with too little and too much always in the pursuit of "just enough." I have stumbled onto biases and privileges I never knew I had, much less wanted. I have been forced to re-define who I am, how I fit with those I love, and what my intentions really are. I have missed the window of opportunity to take a shower more times than I'd like to admit. I have found ways to distract myself and keep myself busy without actually accomplishing anything. I have watched the 700 Club and infomercials for body shapers and sandwich pocket makers. I have cried, and cried, and cried. I have fought (a loosing) turf war against the pigeons at our apartment complex. I have bickered, argued, picked fights with and stormed off on my partner.

It was during one of these awful moments, when my partner and I were exploring some mammoth concept like the purpose of life when I was given my nom de plume (look mom I can spell in French). After an argument (or what anyone else would likely call a discussion (but I'm sensitive so it was an argument to me)) I looked through tears into the eyes of my partner and apologized for the weepy, sullen, angst-ridden creature I had been lately. My partner then said to me: "It is okay. You are just like my little Phoenix. You are beautiful and your tears have healing powers, but you get blue and your feathers get ruffled and then you burst into flames. Sometimes those flames run a little hot but for the most part you are re-born into a beautiful new Phoenix."

That's love, isn't it? Only a partner who truly loves me for what I am (and not it spite of it) could see my border line manic-depressive affect as something as beautiful and majestic as a Phoenix. It was after my partner gave me this nick-name that I went on to learn more about these mythical creatures. There is all sorts of mythology, theology, and other -ologies that tell the tale (no pun intended) of these beautiful birds. But I like my partner's summation best.



Elizabeth said...

What a beautiful story for a beautiful person, inside and out. Happy birthday, my friend!

ChoirPres said...

Score one for Captain Handsome! He is definitely your lobster. I applaud your bravery for saying how you really feel (despite the pressure you probably put on yourself to buck up and make the best of it). Here's the thing: you ARE amazing, and your life has a great impact on all of us around you. You may not realize all the good you are doing everyday, but it's there. =) Smooches!